photo by Samara Pearlstein
Not blue in a ‘look at these handsome blue high socks’ kind of way either. Wouldn’t that be nice, though? If all the Tigers were looking at photos like that and realized, hey, those kids have the right idea, that really looks sharp, I’m gonna wear my socks like that all season long… wouldn’t that be sweet? It would.
But that’s not what I mean. I mean REALLY BLUE.
Now, there is a fine history of ridiculous Spring Training Photo Day themes, which probably reached their peak with The Great Oakland Sunflower Seed Lulz of 2007. The Incredibly Blue Tigers Photos of 2011 are not a sudden departure from the solemnity of Spring Training Photo Day; they are simply another example of an already rich tradition.
They are also not the result of a photographer who doesn’t know what he’s doing. The gentleman responsible for the bulk of the Tigers’ Photo Day stuff this year was Getty Images shooter Nick Laham, who knows how to light a photo. He also shot the normal Photo Day poses which came out, you know… normal (to the extent that the thing currently inhabiting Daniel Schlereth’s face can be considered ‘normal’, anyways).
We are still left with the question WHY. I always thought that the portrait stations were supposed to generate stock-like images of the players that could then be used by the team (or whoever else had rights to use Getty or MLB photos) for a variety of different applications throughout the year. For instance, near the bottom of the Mothership right now there is a little image of Cabrera, Verlander, and Jackson. The shot of Miggy is from a 2009 Getty photog on Spring Training Photo Day (Nick Laham again, actually), Justin’s is from 2008 (also Laham), and Austin’s is from a 2010 MLB-licensed shooter. Stuff like this is what I imagined Photo Day was for.
But what purpose do the Blue Photos serve? For that matter, where in the world were those Sunflower Seeds shots ever used, or even last year’s photos with the giant Olde English D on the wall*– where were those used? What are they for? Have I totally misconstrued the point of Photo Day? Is there some SECRET PURPOSE involved, alongside the more easily-comprehended stock photo generation and head-scanning for video game modeling?
WHAT IS THE SECRET PURPOSE? I mean, does the team ask for these creative and, er, limited-application shots? Is it all up to the photographers? Is there a secret underground plot to turn Major League Baseball creative and artsy?? IF SO, WHY HAS NO ONE TOLD ME?
These are important mysteries to ponder, alongside the very serious question of what Miguel Cabrera’s absence from camp means in terms of Photo Day. He wasn’t AT Photo Day! Does he not get a Blue Photo? Turning Tigers blue requires a fair amount of equipment, and that’s a lot of set-up for just one cat at some unspecified future date.
I don’t know WHY the Tigers had to be blue this year, but if all the other starters had to turn blue, Miggy clearly has to be blue-gel’d too. This is what being a team is all about.
ETA: Oh ho! Now it comes out that the Phillies have been red gel’d, by the same photographer who blue gel’d the Tigers. What is happening here?
*Gregory Shamus for Getty Images was responsible for these.